Thursday, May 28, 2015

Dangerous ways to try for better sleep....

Today's Post:  Thursday, 5-28-2015

There are effective and safe ways to get to sleep; to stay asleep; and to get restful sleep.

But what if you don’t know them or the ones you have tried so far haven’t worked well enough?

There are antihistamines that make people drowsy.  Alcohol when you are tired can put you to sleep.  And there are the hypnotic sleep drugs.

Should you take them?  Except for alcohol which is a special case, it looks like a very, very bad idea! 
That’s particularly true since there are much safer and effective alternatives

1.  The antihistamines aren’t great on sleep quality and have bad long term effects. 

They are anticholinergic drugs which means they interfere with your normal supply of energy.
And a study found that taking this class of drugs or tranquilizers long term tends to cause mental decline including Alzheimer’s disease. Worse, it’s a strong effect!

2.  The hypnotic sleep drugs are so bad they are scary. 

They have a death rate – sometimes within days of beginning them.  People have done sleep walking under their influence and have eaten poisons instead of food and gone outside in subzero weather for a walk with no clothes on and frozen to death and sleep driven into concrete pillars and the like.

And the hypnotic sleep drugs increase your odds of getting cancer within a year so much they should likely be banned as carcinogenic.  They have a similar huge boosting effect for death from all causes.
And, they don’t result in great sleep quality either; they just stop you from being awake.

Worse, they tend to be addictive.  So when given as a short term help, they can be hard to stop taking.

We have posted on the things that create and restore better sleep and help you to get to sleep and stay asleep.  Some of them are more strategic but there are also things you can take that work instead of those three things. Learn and use those instead!

3.  What about alcohol?

Compared to most alternatives, alcoholic drinks are effective at lowering perceived stress including depression; and when you are short on sleep and you drink them in the evening they do tend to put you to sleep. (So if you are stressed and short on sleep and drink or drink extra do everything you can to not drive or have someone else do it!)

Red wine is by far the safest and most beneficial alcoholic drink.

There are four downsides for using as a sleep aid though:

1.  The sleep alcoholic drinks give you is stress relieving but doesn’t provide the full restorative effects of real sleep. 

2.  Once your body processes the alcohol, you sometimes become wide awake and have trouble falling back to sleep.

3.  Drinking more than a light moderate amount is somewhat fattening and recent research found even harms your heart over time when you drink more than that and heavy drinking can cause brain and liver damage. And, except for red wine, alcoholic drinks are somewhat carcinogenic.

4.  Drinking more than a light moderate amount also causes physically harmful and deadly accidents both driving and at home.

So, if you drink lightly and drink instead of taking the dangerous two kinds of drugs and can sleep a bit longer so your normal sleep is close to what you need, light drinking can help.  And a good quality red wine is usually a better choice if you do this often.

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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Supplements that boost your energy....

Today's Post:  Wednesday, 5-27-2015

Everything is easier and your quality of life is better if you are alert, awake, and feel as if you have reserves of even more energy.

And when you do work really hard and run your energy down, being able to recover fast and easily -- also really, really helps.

Some things that create that result take extra daily effort while others need none -- but require a good bit of time or even money to start up.

Supplements that create this effect need very little extra effort to do each day.  And you can start doing them right away.

And, some of them create very powerful effects.  Best of all, nearly all of them have other health benefits.

1.  Life often requires you to switch quickly from what you are doing to deal with an urgent need or situation and then to switch back again to what you were doing and still do it well. 

No one does it perfectly which is why making big blocks of almost always NOT interrupted time to work with challenging must do projects and the projects that will achieve your most important goals helps to get them done.

But much of the rest of the time and sometimes over and over again all day, you have to do this and it really helps to be good at it!

*Are there supplements for that?

Yes!  Recent research found that a high intake of omega 3 oils boosts that ability AND helps grow and keep the part of your brain that does it!

Jarrow DHA and Nordic Naturals Omega 3 in combination give you exactly that. 

(It does help to also eat wild caught fish like sardines and herring and wild caught salmon two or three times a week also.  And, getting vigorous exercise or at least a brisk walk most days of every week more than doubles the effect because it helps the omega 3 oils to cause your body to release BDNF which grows new nerves and brain cells.)

Lastly, and separate from the supplements, if you organize most of what you do into steps, I’ve found that when you are interrupted, you can sometimes handle the interruption and what you were doing best by thinking through how to redo the order of the steps after you finish dealing with the interruption.

I just did this today before we left for work in fact.  My wife blocked me from several steps in getting ready.  But there were many she did not block.  By simply doing these out of their normal order, we left on time despite the disruption to my normal order of steps.

2.  This kind of  redoing your actions under time pressure over and over all day can be stressful even when you handle it well. 

*Is there a supplement that both calms you down enough you feel the stress relieving effect but at the same time increases your intelligence and alertness so you can be effective at the same time?

Surprisingly, I found out recently, that answer is yes too!

Paradise herbs sells it, Lemon Balm is the herb. 

I’ve also read that taking two capsules a day helps keep your telomeres long and slows aging.

Possibly that’s from lemon balm’s calming and stress relief effect.

There are few supplements you can take before starting work that help you perform at your best that also help you rest and recover when you go home so you’ll have energy the next day too. Taking lemon balm does just that!

So, I’m delighted to find this supplement!

3.  Your body in each and every cell has power centers called mitochondria. 

Al Sears explains that in a healthy 8 year old all of them are working and healthy.  As a result they have abundant energy and can move and dance and run easily.

But most people in their nineties only have 3% of their mitochondria working and maybe not that well. As a result they move slowly if at all.  The run out of energy easily and often feel tired.  Doing things and solving problems feel like too much trouble.

What if you could have almost as many mitochondria as an 8 year old and all of your mitochondria were working well?

You’d have most or even all of the energy of a much younger person!

Might there be a supplement for that?

Indeed there are!

In fact, there are 3 three two of which are well worth taking!

At first people took a supplement, CoQ10, that replaced it in middle aged, over 25 years old, people who no longer made it in abundance.  It seems that it is essential to keep your mitochondria healthy. 

But Al Sears, MD, and others found that to keep your blood levels high you had to take quite a bit and take it something like every 3 or four hours.  For rich people with failing hearts, that could be worth it but was impractical otherwise.

*But your body converts and actually uses CoQ10 in a form called ubiquinol.  Then it was discovered that there was a way to make ubiquinol as a supplement that your body could use.

So, ubiquinol is well worth taking!  Dr Sears and others found that ubiquinol in more reasonable amounts, 100 mg of ubiquinol instead of 400 to 800 mg of CoQ10,  created both higher ubiquinol levels in the blood AND the high blood levels remained high for several hours not just a few as they do with taking CoQ10.

(Vigorous exercise enables people to stay more youthful in part because doing such exercise regularly also directly causes the mitochondria in your muscles to stay healthy and functioning! 
So doing vigorous, brief exercise most days of every week AND taking ubiquinol is the ideal for this way of having more energy!)

Jarrow makes a 100 mg capsule of ubiquinol that is in most health food stores. (I take one first thing each morning and one every day at lunch.  Younger people may do fine with 100 mg once a day first thing in the morning.

*What if some of your mitochondria get too sick to save or just die off? 

That is a direct cause of aging because it does happen. You no longer have the mitochondria. that died. And the ones too sick to save impair the healthy ones.

Might there be a supplement for that?

YES! Recently researchers at UC Davis discovered that PQQ, a natural compound in kiwifruit and other foods, when concentrated into a supplement does an incredible double because PQQ causes your body to remove the mitochondria that are too sick to save AND it causes your body to make new mitochondria.

Jarrow makes a 20 mg PQQ as well!

4.  Coffee works to wake you up; but once you have the first cup or two of the day and maybe one after lunch, if you drink more, it can cause you to feel anxious which drains your mental energy; it can keep you from sleeping well at night and then need extra the next day to make up for the missing sleep; and it can make you feel wired and give you a headache.

But what if you need more wake up than two or three or four cups of coffee a day and more does cause those problems for you, is there a supplement that can help?
I’ve found that drinking Earl Grey and Oolong and green tea helps do that because it has a gentler effect and a bit less caffeine. 

Is there a supplement too if you are too busy for making tea several times a day?


Now makes a green tea extract and taking two capsules is almost as good for alertness as a small cup of coffee; but in addition to the lower caffeine and gentler effect, it has something called theanine that both wakes you and makes you alert AND calms you at the same time! 

Best of all, there is some evidence green tea extract also helps prevent many cancers!

I currently do have one small cup of coffee each morning; but the first thing I do is to take two capsules of green tea extract.  That way by the time the coffee is ready, I’ve already got some caffeine into my blood stream and helping me wake up but not stressing me.

5.  Are there other supplements that give you energy that you can take?


a) When your mitochondria turn glucose into energy they use a compound called ATP.  The enzymes that enable your mitochondria to do this all need magnesium and  most Americans are deficient in it!

If you eat 6 to 10 servings of vegetables each day including one to three servings of dark green leaved vegetables and or eat several kinds of raw nuts if you aren’t allergic you can get enough or close to enough magnesium for this. And, doing so had tons of other health benefits.

But what if you don’t do that or haven’t started doing so yet?

You can take two to four 200 mg capsules a day of magnesium citrate.  (Now makes that one.) 

Because I have acid reflux that prevents full digestion of minerals, I take four capsules a day.

People who have an abundant intake or magnesium are less likely to have migraines and those that have them have fewer of them.  Since migraines really mess up your energy and productivity that’s an important reason to consider taking magnesium also.

The three extra benefits of magnesium are that it calms you somewhat; AND it helps prevent or lower high blood pressure when you have enough magnesium; and it helps prevent constipation too.

However, if you take magnesium as a laxative AND take magnesium supplements too, you can overdose on magnesium.

Milk of Magnesia doesn’t have the aluminum that many other laxatives have that is likely to cause Alzheimer’s if taken often.  But it is one of the highest in magnesium.  So if you need a laxative and want to use it while taking magnesium supplements, take ONE dose with some laxative containing senna and then stop!

The better news is that if you eat fruit and nuts and vegetables and beans and lentils and exercise and take magnesium the chances of you ever having constipation approach zero!

b) Your energy is also based on healthy nerve function.  Besides omega 3 oils and exercise there are many ways to healthy nerve function.  But one of the most critical is B12 and the methyl form is what the body uses best. 

People over 60 sometimes don’t digest foods well enough and are then deficient in B12.  People, who take heartburn or acid reflux drugs are usually deficient in B12 because those drugs turn down the acid you need to digest B12 well.

And, Metformin for lowering high blood sugar is an unusually good drug. It works.  It seems to help people lose a bit of extra belly fat on top of the lower blood sugar readings.  And taking Metformin may even have anti-cancer effects according to some research.

Considering that virtually all other blood sugar lowering drugs have side effects like heart attacks and death from diabetic low sugar coma and permanent kidney damage, that makes taking Metformin plus health habit upgrades the right solution to type 2 diabetes and high blood sugar.  But taking Metformin also depletes.

Vegan and close to vegan eating styles that have people eating a LOT of vegetables, 6 to 10 servings a day and no wheat and hardly any other grains are incredibly healthful -- except for some supplements you should take to ensure you have enough, at least 15 mg a day of zinc is one for example.  AND, if you don’t take vitamin B12 or eat wild caught fish or organic liver or eggs from pasture fed chickens or cheese from cows fed only grass, you MUST take B12 or be deficient with seriously bad results.

So if you have low energy or feel more confused and foggy than you once did OR if you are in ANY of the categories just listed, your nerves and brain may well work better or well enough people and your doctor don’t think you have Alzheimer’s disease,
take at least 1,000 mcg of chewable or under the tongue lozenges of methyl B12.

Now makes a methyl B12 in 1,000 mcg sizes.  And for those who have been deficient and need to boost their level more quickly at first, they also make a 5,000 mcg size.

If you have been deficient for any of these reasons, and take the chewable or under tongue methyl B12, you may even feel the difference after just a few days.

*But here is the best news.  I remember reading long ago that President Kennedy needed extra energy to fight the disease he had, Addison’s disease, if I remember correctly; stand up under the work load he had as President of the United States; AND live the lifestyle he wanted to live.

He found shots of B12 worked to do that.  Suppose you had days where you wanted to have extra  energy or were running out of gas when you needed not to. 

Have you had days like that?

 I know I have.

Here’s the news:  I recently read a report by a researcher on B12 who took a chewable 1,000 or 5,000 mcg B12 to get extra energy on those kinds of days.

I’ve not yet tried it myself.  But it very well might work because by chewing the methyl B12 tablet and having it go into your saliva in your mouth, it goes directly into your blood. 

That’s why it works for people who don’t digest it well.

c) If you are male, having enough testosterone will improve your mood and energy.  And there are many supplements that do that including holy basil which also has the NON-steroid, natural anabolic ursolic acid.

We did a post on many others:

Three sets of ways to boost your testosterone….Thursday, 3-12-2015. 
See: under April 2015.

d) There are also many supplements that help ensure you have enough thyroid for adequate energy.  But if you feel unusually tired AND are gaining weight , it may pay you to get that tested if you aren’t taking a drug with those side effects.
That said, taking the amino acid tyrosine first thing in the morning helps avoid that and studies show it makes you more stress resistant and resilient too.  So it too is a good energy supplement. 

(It also helps to take a multi-vitamin plus mineral with 150 mcg of iodine each day AND never ingest any MSG.  Tyrosine helps because your body makes thyroid from it.)

Conclusion:  So, if you already sleep well and use the mental strategies for more energy but still need a bit more energy, these supplements will help!  

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Thursday, May 21, 2015

The most HARMFUL foods for your brain....

Today's Post:  Thursday, 5-21-2015

The most HARMFUL foods for your brain:

Excess fructose & free fructose, hydrogenated oils, wheat,
                      & foods containing mercury, lead, cadmium, &/or  MSG

This post was inspired by an email from Mike Geary who is a first rate-health researcher and writer.

I like very much that he sends out valuable information for free.  To be sure he has things he sells with similar but more detailed or extensive information.

To see Mike’s article directly, check out his link.

In this post I’ve added to his list and to his information and presented the parts Mike had a bit differently.

To avoid harming your brain with these avoidable foods, here are some things to do:

1.  Limit the dickens out of free and total fructose. 

Both harm your brain AND tend to cause blood sugar spikes, insulin resistance, too high blood sugar, and even type 2 diabetes. 

But even at lower levels of those than in type 2 diabetes, research shows they cause the development of Alzheimer’s disease.  Worse, over time they cause reduction of circulation to your brain by damaging the capillaries in it.

*Limit organic prunes to one a day & and eating organic prunes, raisins, etc to every other day.  Limit even no sugar applesauce to one spoon every other day but OK for one to three more every other day.

These are fruits that are higher in fructose.  So to avoid excess fructose overall be sparing half the time and don’t eat any at all half the time.

*Organic blueberries and other low glycemic fruit can be eaten daily and will benefit you and your health to eat!  Just limit how many to one or two servings a day.  Surprisingly, as sweet as they taste, bananas, while a bit higher glycemic, are NOT high in fructose.

*Eat yams, carrots, beans and lentils, squash, pumpkin, and quinoa for extra carbs every other day and limit all of them except some carrots and beans and lentils every other day.

The idea is to have health OK carbs on some days about half the time; and the other half the time have days where you eat little or none. 

This has been shown to help keep you lean or lose fat on the much lower carb days.  And the days with health OK carbs help keep your thyroid and energy and mood up and avoid triggering the famine response.

Note that ALL of those health OK carbs are low in fructose and high in fiber and nutrition.

*Eat or drink ZERO corn syrup or agave or high fructose corn syrup AND foods containing them.

Total fructose and free fructose are directly harmful. 

High fructose corn syrup is the worst because unlike sugar, sucrose, in high fructose corn syrup fructose and glucose are unlinked so you not only get extra fructose, sometimes a LOT more than in real sugar, with high fructose corn syrup it’s much faster acting and much more harmful. 

Since high fructose also contains mercury in about 30 % of it which is also harmful to your brain; and the high blood sugar spikes from ingesting it cause rebound hunger and carb cravings which reliably fatten you, the best policy is to never, ever eat or drink anything that contains it.

Agave nectar was once touted to be a health food because it was low glycemic.  Unfortunately, agave syrup is fructose, water, and what to me is a slightly bitter taste.

So even if to you agave tastes good or you find it in foods that otherwise have health OK ingredients, make a special effort to never eat any! It’s almost as harmful as high fructose corn syrup.

2.  Eat zero oils made from grains including canola as due to their processing in addition to pro-inflammatory omega 6 oils some of those become hydrogenated oils or do when heated.  

Eat no foods that contain MSG or list autolyzed yeast or “spices” or natural spices on the label.

Alzheimer’s disease is directly caused by excess inflammation. So each of these do so because they are so very pro-inflammatory, particularly MSG.

Eat raw nuts, avocados, and extra virgin olive oil instead.  And, take PS, omega 3 oils, and DHA.

In addition to this, hydrogenated oils, aka trans fats, have two horribly harmful effects.  They are a direct cause of the small particle LDL that cause heart and blood vessel disease. 

So when you have enough of them in your system, they actively cut circulation to your brain.  That causes vascular dementia.

Secondly, your body doesn’t just process hydrogenated oils in a single day.  It takes weeks to just get rid of half of it.  Guess what that means?  If you eat less of it or just a little bit of it every day, after only a month your blood levels are as high as if you ate a LOT of it.

And, that means the only safe intake for hydrogenated oils is literally zero!  So to protect your brain, eat no foods that are known to contains it.  Read labels and buy and eat or drink NO foods or drinks that list trans fats higher than zero or hydrogenated oils on their labels.

Eat no processed cheese (unfortunately it's often used in pizza), shortening, nondairy creamer, margarine etc and no commercial baked goods including pie crusts.

3.  Minimize all wines except California wines.  Other wines often contain lead.  Mercifully California wines generally do not.  I also think it likely that wines from Oregon do not.

4. Drink water filtered for heavy metals. (See our post last Tuesday, 5-19.)  

5.  Eat cilantro and drink Vitamix drinks that contain it and organic citrus peels.  Cilantro and citrus peels help remove the heavy metals from your body. 

And the heavy metals they remove such as lead and mercury and cadmium all harm your nerves and brain.

6.  Also, avoid eating any fish such as swordfish that are high in mercury.  And only eat tuna a few times a month or less as it’s a bit too high in mercury.  Wild caught salmon and smaller fish like sardines and herring are much safer to eat as they have very little mercury in them.

7.  Stay away 100% from tobacco and its smoke.  Cadmium causes brain damage and it’s in tobacco smoke enough that smokers have almost double the rate of Alzheimer’s disease as nonsmokers.

8.  And eat ZERO rice!

Rice and brown rice are very high glycemic foods and not a lot better for you than high fructose corn syrup.  Worse, the water they are grown in is high enough in arsenic, another brain harming chemical, they test as unsafe to eat and over the safe limit for arsenic!

9.  Only eat sprouted whole non GMO whole wheat once in two weeks or less, 
                               OR, better, EAT ZERO wheat ever and no other grains either.

GMO hybrid wheat, even as whole wheat, is enough higher in glycemic index than sugar, it’s about as harmful for you as high fructose corn syrup. 

That’s even more the case for the refined grain wheat flour that is what virtually all bread and baked goods are made out of.

In addition, hybrid wheat has an ingredient that causes excess inflammation and triggers more inflammation and gluten intolerance.

On top of this, all grains are high in pro-inflammatory omega 6 oils.!

The best solution is to never eat any wheat at all!

What can you eat instead?

Quinoa and wild rice are grain like OK foods.  And, barley and whole grain rye for people not super sensitive to gluten can be OK a few times a year.

And buckwheat and oats and whole grain buckwheat flour and steel cut or rolled oats are OK every other day for people not going 100% grain free temporarily to lose fat or totally grain free.

They are higher glycemic than other alternatives and, for people only mildly sensitive to gluten, oats and buckwheat have little or none. In fact, Bob’s Red Mill sells a buckwheat flour that is 100% gluten free according to its label.

NEVER eat bread, rolls, pizza dough, or pie crust, or commercial baked goods or hamburger buns  because they are all  made with refined hybrid GMO wheat.

Not convinced yet to avoid these foods?

They also have proven to harm your blood vessels, heart, liver, and kidneys too!

For example, NASH, fatty liver, which can cause fatal liver damage, is directly caused by eating things like high fructose corn syrup and wheat.  And eating hydrogenated oils also causes it.  People who do both as so many people still do are quite likely to get it.

Why does avoiding these brain harmful foods make fat loss easy?

Fructose, hydrogenated oils, and GMO wheat not only harm your brain, blood vessels, liver, and heart -- all proven by the way -- the average fat American takes in 30 to 55% of their calories from these foods and ingredients!

MSG, also found in virtually all fast food, is a double fattener.  People who ingest it are considerably fatter than people eating the same foods and the same calories but no MSG. Worse, if you eat MSG too long it damages and slows your thyroid and makes you even fatter!

AND, fructose, hydrogenated oils, and wheat are each fattening more than the calories they contain!

To be sure, when you stop them all, you do have to add back some calories in the health OK and health supporting foods and oils you eat instead.  

But that leaves you full and LESS hungry and cuts your total calories by 10 to 40%.  

That's why stopping them all is such a huge lever for fat loss and for keeping off the fat you lose! 

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